Patriots give OT Light warm sendoff
Offensive tackle Matt Light was given a regal sendoff into retirement
by the New England Patriots on Monday after 11 seasons as the team's
starting left tackle.
"Matt has been the definition of a dependable, durable, consistent
player," said coach Bill Belichick.
Light, 33, officially retired April 24, when New England Patriots
placed him on the reserve/retired list after weeks of speculation.
Light said he had known since before Super Bowl XLVI that he wouldn't
play another game.
"I can't begin to tell you how great this has been," Light said,
directing his comments to Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.
Quarterback Tom Brady said in a video tribute that he plans to talk
Light out of retirement, calling him one of his favorite teammates. The
entire offensive line and coordinator Josh McDaniels attended the
Light played his entire career with the Patriots after the team
selected him in the second round out of Purdue in the 2001 draft.
Belichick said Monday the Patriots traded to get ahead of the Jets, who
drafted Kareem McKenzie a few picks later.
He started immediately as a rookie and the Patriots upset the Rams to
win the Super Bowl. Belichick said that wasn't Light's best season, but
he survived. Light started in five Super Bowls -- only Brady has done
the same for the Patriots -- and won three.
Light had '19 mental errors" in 2001, but became more and more reliable
as an anchor of the Patriots' line. He had only two in his final
season, according to Belichick.
Technically, Light could reverse course and rejoin the team. But
speaking Monday from the Patriots Hall of Fame and looking much
slimmer, he said not to expect him back on the field, no matter how
much he wants to return for his teammates.
"I played the game to be alongside guys like you," he said, adding that
Kevin Faulk, Logan Mankins and other veterans taught him what it meant
to be a professional.
Light plans to dedicate much of his retirement life to his charitable
foundation, which operates a 400-acre site that benefits youth with
team-building and training programs to "lead young people down a path
to becoming responsible members of their communities.